Consuming does not only mean buying actively, but also accepting certain things. This step tackles the indirect forms of consumption. No matter where we are, we get overwhelmed by one-way plastic bottles, drinking straws, cups and cutlery almost daily. Unfortunately, this plastic does not only damage our environment by releasing toxic chemicals in its production process, it often cannot even be recycled and therefore ends up in parks, forests or the sea. That is the reason why you should strictly refuse these environmental injurers and resort to sustainable alternatives. The same applies to freebies, unnecessary packagings and receipts. You also need to declare war on the annoying junk mail to lead a zero waste lifestyle.
This essential step addresses the core issues of our garbage problem. First of all, you should inspect every single object of your household for its use and eliminate everything which is not needed. Flea markets, eBay or donate organizations are a great possibility to get rid of unutilized stuff in a sustainable way. And if you have worked your way through this elaborate step, you will look much more critical on new purchases and be more willing to reduce your consumption. This self-chosen simplicity even saves time, because there is less to clean, repair, store and dispose in the end.
Reusing must not be put on a level with recycling, as this point rather aims at utilizing things in their original form further on. By purchasing reusable products, or bringing your own bag for shopping, precious resources can be spared. Objects which are not in daily use, like for example a lawnmower or a bike, can be shared with your neighbours. Broken items should be repaired instead of disposed or transformed into something new creatively. Buying secondhand is another awesome option to live more sustainable. Certainly, many more ideas will come to your mind when you start thinking about it once.
This step is probably self-explaining as we are recycling record holders, after all. Nonetheless, it is important that you try to realize all of the previous steps first, before falling back to recycling. Because all of these points only make sense in the prescribed order if you really want to reduce your waste.
One third of our household garbage is organic, wherefore rotting is the last necessary step. An own compost heap is a good start, for example.